Couture goal in 3rd period lifts Sharks by Blue Jackets, 3-2

San Jose Sharks

– Game One of the San Jose Sharks’ regular season schedule
turned on a Logan Couture goal 10:15 into the third period.
STOCKHOLM – Game One of the San Jose Sharks’ regular season schedule turned on a Logan Couture goal 10:15 into the third period.

The Sharks were 11 seconds away from ending a power play when Ryane Clowe kept the play alive at the blue line and Couture whipped a screened shot from the outside edge of the left circle to give San Jose a 3-2 victory.

San Jose and Columbus complete the two-game set in Stockholm Saturday at 12 noon PST.

“Clowey made a real smart play to keep the puck alive,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. “Then Logan positioned himself properly. It’s amazing when you have the net presence and you shoot the puck, how much success you can have. (Devin Setoguchi) did a very good job of getting in the goalie’s eyes.”

Scott Arniel, making his NHL coaching debut behind the Blue Jacket net, concurred that goaltender Steve Mason was screened on the decisive play.

“Mase didn’t see the shot and that was the difference in the game. We gave up one scoring chance in the third period and it ended up in the net.”

San Jose earned its sixth and final power play of the contest when Mike Commodore was penalized for boarding San Jose’s Jamie McGinn.

“(Jamie’s) sore,” said McLellan. “He was going full speed. He’s lucky and we’ll see how he is in the morning.”

The Sharks did not appear to need a game-winning goal in the third period after exploding for a 2-0 advantage after 10:57 of play. Torey Mitchell scored on a wrap-around at 2:11 and Joe Thornton connected on a shot from the high slot during a power play at 10:57.

“Simple play,” said McLellan of the first goal. “The goalie’s not into the game yet. (Torrey) wraps and jams. Nice to see him rewarded.”

Columbus bounced back with two goals in a span of 15 seconds of the first period.

Kristian Huselius lined a shot from the right dot behind San Jose goalie Antti Niemi for a Columbus power play goal at 16:55.

The next shift ended in a tying goal. RJ Umberger went to the low slot to pounce on a short rebound of an Ethan Moreau charge from the left flank and jam the puck inside the right post at 17:10.

“It’s always that way with Game One,” McLellan said of the up-and-down first period.

“There’s a ton of emotion, The players are so wound up that they often play a little bit sloppy, a little bit reckless. Then they settle into the game. We had that early. We got scored on a couple times and then I thought we settled in.

“It was a strange game in my opinion. Really nothing going on 5-on-5. More ping pong, pucks bouncing all over the place. Ninety five per cent of the chances came on power play situations for both teams. We were lucky enough to get one more than they did.”